Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Southern Utah to Boise Part II

Our first morning in St. George we got a very slow start.  We had stayed up late the night before doing a mountain of laundry so that Vivian would have clean clothes and a clean carseat again.  It was early afternoon when we finally made our way into Zion National Park.  This is still my favorite place on earth.  I've just never been anywhere that I love quite as much as Zion.  We decided to start our day by doing a hike of a nice overlook on the other side of the tunnel.  The views over there were outstanding.
She ran ahead, and Justin had to yell at her to just sit down and wait for us.

Beautiful, but terrifying views.  I was pretty much a wreck until they were back down from there.
Taking a break while Justin was fiddling with the camera 
This bridge made me kind of nervous too.

He just does this from time to time to amuse himself when he gets bored with the baby carrier.

She somehow always winds up with dirt all over her face.
It took us hours to complete that little hike.  We spent a lot of time at the top, and then Justin was trying to teach Vivian about echos on the way back.  She seemed fascinated, but absolutely refused to shout in the canyon in order to hear her echo.  Very weird, considering we can't keep her quiet any other time.  Maybe we should tell her that church chapels echo...

We stopped for lunch after that, and then made our way out of the park to ditch the car, ride the shuttle back in and head to the Narrows.  I love the shuttle system, but it doesn't run to the other side of the tunnel so it makes doing that little hike kind of a hassle, but worth it.  We knew we weren't going to be able to actually hike the Narrows with the kids, but the Riverwalk on the way out to the trail head there is pretty, and we figured that we could find a nice place along it where they could play in the river.  These next pictures are some of my favorites that I think we've ever taken.  

I love how fond they are of each other.
We spent a couple of hours there, and predictably Vivian was soaked up to her waist by the time we left.  They were both soaked and exhausted. 
The expression of someone who has been vacationing too hard.
That evening in the timeshare we determined that tomorrow needed to be a light day too.  They were loving the park, but the exhaustion was showing itself on their faces, and behavior.  The next day we decided to take them to Emerald Pools.  Vivian hiked the whole way by herself.  
My people on the trail, nearing the end of the hike.

We waded out to this little sandbar and Vivian spotted a little frog on our way out.

Holding her frog.

There's a no swimming sign up, but we were wading not swimming.  Vivian always looks like she's swimming when she wades.

So there were a lot of people there who judged us for getting in the water.  Justin heard one parent loudly teaching his son how "those people over there are damaging the fragile ecosystem by playing in the water."  Maybe we were wrong, but I really don't feel bad about letting my kids wade around in the water for a few minutes, nor do I think that the ecosystem was permanently scarred.

We finished the hike and headed back to the timeshare.  Vivian insisted that she could walk, but she was moving so slow that Justin finally insisted on carrying her the last mile or so down.  

I've been here at least a dozen times and I'm still stunned with how beautiful it is there.  I guess it caught Ivan's attention too.

Vivian slept while he passed the time on the shuttle back to the car playing with his dad.
We told Vivian on the drive back that evening that if she wanted to do something different the next day, instead of hiking that we could, and then we started throwing out options.  We passed a sign on the freeway advertising the dinosaur track museum.  I threw it out there as an option, not expecting it to stand up to the other fun things that were proposed.  Naturally she latched onto that idea like superglue.  We tried to persuade her to consider other options, but she can be very stubborn.  We finally agreed that Justin would call and consult with Grandma Goodale about it (since she had taken their family when Justin was younger), and if Grandma Goodale said that it would be fun then we would go see the dinosaur tracks.  Grandma Goodale said that next time we need to warn her before we ask, but we didn't.  So the next morning we all headed out to see the dinosaur tracks.

The museum was very small, and truthfully it was kind of interesting.  
She wanted to sit as close to the TV as possible for the introductory video.
The museum started out with an introductory video, that Vivian found to be very interesting.  Justin made fun of it a lot because a cartoon dinosaur in the video was named Dill, and apparently Justin felt that they pronounced it in such a way that it was obvious to him that Utahns made the video.

Her favorite part was actually running laps around the museum on these ramps.
After the museum our kids got a much needed nap.  We spent the remainder of the day in the pool, relaxing.

They were happy to just hang out in the kiddie pool with their dad most of the afternoon.
That was our last day in St. George.  The next morning we set off for Boise.  We decided to drive straight up through Nevada, rather than back through Utah on I-15.  This seemed like a great idea to us at the time.  It could have been a great alternate route, had it not been for all the construction.  There were three different spots where the two-lane highway was narrowed to one lane, and you had to wait up to 30 minutes before proceeding.  We hit all three delays.  When we finally arrived in Wells, Nevada the one road that goes north into Idaho was closed for an accident.  Instead we went further west to Elko and then up to Idaho on a very remote road that seemed to truly define the "middle of nowhere."  After 12 solid hours on the road we were finally back in cellphone coverage and able to contact Justin's mother who had been expecting us to arrive hours earlier and was experiencing some level of concern about our whereabouts.  For the record, we had also experienced some of those same concerns.  Ivan was sick of the whole thing and for that last couple of hours in the car he let us know that we had pushed him too far.  
I had to spend part of the drive in the backseat trying to keep this little one happy.
Thirteen hours after departure we finally arrived in Boise, tired and frazzled, but excited for the next phase of our vacation.

The next day we went to the Idaho State Fair.  I was really excited about it this year because I wanted to test Vivian out on a few of the rides, and see how she liked them.  Justin's family works for one of the food vendors, so our first stop was to visit them at work, and then we met up with some of the rest of the family that wasn't working the fair.  We watched the splash dogs first, which were sort of interesting, but would have been more so with more dogs, less talking.  Then we visited the petting zoo portion.  

This huge pig kind of freaked me out, but the sign said that it's a domesticated pet.
After this picture I watched a few other people walk over and try to get their kid to hug the goat too, but the goat wouldn't cooperate.  Apparently it was just particularly fond of Vivian.

We stopped in at the medical station to get a bandaid for a little blister on her finger, and the EMT's there said she could hop in and check out the ambulance.  At first she didn't want to lay on the stretcher for the picture.  Justin had to drag her up off  of it when it was time to leave.
Brooke and Christopher were there with Caroline for the animals, but they had to head home, so we continued on to the rides without them.  Caroline is still probably too small for most of them anyway, but hopefully next year they can ride something together.

We started her off on the ferris wheel, and she LOVED it!

She also road the pirate ships, but these seemed significantly less interesting than the ferris wheel.  We probably should have done them in reverse order.

And last but not least the pony ride.

I'm not sure that I've ever seen her more thrilled.

she still talks about riding the pony all by her own self.
We left before the sun was down, but our kids were already worn out.  The next morning we met up with Vivian's cousin Caroline again at the aquarium.  It's a very little aquarium, but we were super impressed.  
Feeding the tropical fish

Petting stingrays.  These ones legitimately seemed to like it.

This big puffer fish was very curious about the girls.

Feeding the koi fish

Caroline decided to taste the fish food. 
Petting some sort of lizard.

Caroline feeding the Lorikeets. 

Justin had to take the pictures through the fencing, so the pictures have some weird spots in them.

Caroline had better luck attracting birds than Vivian and I.
We went from the aquarium to the mall and rode the battery operated animals there.  To our surprise the biggest fan of the animals was Ivan.  He seemed to love every second of it. 
He kept reaching over and patting his lion's head.  

After that Grandma took the girls to build-a-bear, an experience that I missed because Ivan wanted to eat.  We went to lunch, fed ducks at Grandma Cotter's and then home for naps.  I have no more pictures from the vacation, but we spent the rest of the vacation swimming, watching Moana on Grandpa Goodale's enormous new TV, and visiting with the family.  Neither Vivian or Ivan were excited about getting back into the car again to go home, but Justin had his first day of school the next morning.  Our vacation finally ended when we pulled up outside of our own home 10 days after we left, still feeling like our summer was ending too soon.